Asee peer logo

Impact on Teaching Practices of a Summer Research Experience for Teachers (Evaluation)

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Marialice Mastronardi University of Texas at Austin

visit author page

PhD student, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education at University of Texas, Austin
M.S. in Electronic Engineering, Polytechnic of Milan (Italy), 2006

visit author page


Maura J. Borrego University of Texas at Austin

visit author page

Maura Borrego is Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Borrego is Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. She previously served as Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education, a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education, and as an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

visit author page


Risa D. Hartman University of Texas at Austin

visit author page

Risa Hartman oversees multiple Education and Outreach programs at the University of Texas at Austin. Her roles include: Staff Education and Outreach Director for the Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and as the Pre-college Education Director for the NASCENT Engineering Research Center focused on nanomanufacturing. She manages programs in the areas of graduate student traineeship and career development, undergraduate research, Research Experiences for K-12 Teachers, high school student research internships, and general science/engineering outreach to the local K-12 community.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Among the many professional development opportunities available for educators, Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs funded by the National Science Foundation offer a unique opportunity for teachers to participate in authentic scientific research for 6 to 10 weeks at institutions of higher education. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the RET summer program administered by [BLINDED]. This program aims to provide elementary, middle and high school teachers with a background and first-hand experience in the design, methods, and analysis of research associated with nanomanufacturing. Other goals of the program include reinforcing the value of incorporating scientific inquiry and engineering concepts in the context of schools’ STEM curricula and providing teachers with the tools, experiences, and ongoing relationships with career scientists and with fellow teachers. By the end of the 7-week program, teachers are expected to prepare a scientific poster to summarize their research. Additionally, teachers receive support to prepare a complete lesson related to their research topic that will be presented in front of [BLINDED] faculty, staff and school administrators. The lesson will become a part of the school’s science curriculum for the following school year. In line with NSF goals, the program offers strong support in curriculum development, thanks to the introduction of a “master teacher”, which is a former RET participant (who attended the program twice) with expertise in curriculum development. The master teacher serves as a role model and helps during the lesson design. [BLINDED] organizes weekly cohort meetings where teachers share their ideas, receive feedback on their lesson plan and network with other RETs and [BLINDED] faculty and staff. Teachers receive an additional stipend after successfully submitting their lesson plan to the website Cumulatively, [BLINDED] has supported 51 teachers over the past seven years, affecting an estimated 5,000 students. To date, these teachers created 33 lessons posted on the [BLINDED] website, 8 of which have been accepted by to post on their national platform. The evaluation of this program has been performed by analyzing responses from pre- and post-surveys of the 2016 to 2019 cohorts. The main focus of this paper is investigating the influence of the program on increasing participants’ self-confidence in research skills and on self-reported confidence and comfort on teaching practices around engineering. The data analysis shows that teachers gained research-related skills, increased their knowledge and application of engineering concepts, improved awareness of engineering opportunities for their students, and built confidence in teaching using open-ended problems and investigations.

Mastronardi, M., & Borrego, M. J., & Hartman, R. D. (2021, July), Impact on Teaching Practices of a Summer Research Experience for Teachers (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015